16 Apr Sticks and Stones
Dear Christian Radio,
Our words are tearing each other down, not building us up.
“Children are meant to be seen and not heard.”
“I’ll give you a quarter to go play in the traffic.”
“A two by four with nails in the back of the head is what he needs.”
We’re all familiar with the old nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s a phrase that’s been used to help children remain calm and in good spirits when verbal barbs are thrown at them. The trouble with words is that they stick.
A LIFETIME OF HURT
Bones heal. Hurtful words affect us for a lifetime.
What outcome do you suppose the words quoted above, spoken consistently over the years, would have on the son of the father who said them to him, often in the presence of company? They certainly would not have a “building up” effect.
I need to admit something to you. I struggle constantly with a sense of inadequacy and insecurity. It has ruled my life since those words were inculcated into me. I recognize now that my father didn’t mean any harm. He was simply acting out his own insecurities and inadequacies fixed in him from his very difficult childhood.
THE HEALING BEGINS
Years ago, in my early days of walking with Jesus, we were at my dad’s and step-mother’s house for the holidays. I was sitting in the family room and could see directly into the kitchen. Dad went to heat some water in a cup for his International coffee and he was standing at the microwave waiting for the timer.
I watched him as he stood there and then, all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with love welling up in my heart that exploded into a tidal wave of cleansing, liberating forgiveness.
“Dad,” I blurted out, “I love you. I’m proud of you and I’m honored to be your son.” Needless to say, we were both stunned. I had never told him that before. Then, almost involuntarily, my mouth moved again, saying, “And I forgive you.” Dad quipped, “What? Forgive me for what?”
With a great release of emotional pain that had gripped my heart like a vise-clamp for years, I continued, “Dad, I forgive you for all the things that were, that should not have been. And I forgive you for all the things that weren’t, that should have been. I forgive you for everything and I am so proud to be your son.”
I didn’t know it then, but this was a pivotal turning point in my life… And in our relationship.
FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY
I have discovered that forgiveness is at the root of our spiritual, emotional, physical and relational health. An unforgiving heart is a broken heart. Broken hearts have limitations.
Forgiving others is among the most difficult of things that God asks us to do. Some would rather have a fork in their eye than to even think about forgiving those who have hurt or wronged them. Here is just one problem with an unforgiving heart. When a person prays while holding grudges, it is like that fig tree Jesus found. It had leaves, but no fruit. It looked good, but it produced nothing that was of any benefit to others.
Jesus tells us, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too.” Mark 11:25 (TLB)
We need to forgive. We need to have a spirit of forgiveness. The “pain dispensers” are powerless to those who have already forgiven an offense before it comes. Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. Proverbs 19:11 (MSG)
GOD GETS THE GLORY
My dad loved me. But he did not know how to build my life when I was young and impressionable; when I needed it most. That has had lasting, negative effects. But it’s okay. What the enemy of our souls meant for evil, God is now using for His glory.
God is building my life and He wants to build yours, too.
It starts with the solid foundation of forgiveness.
Dear Christian Radio,
· Our words matter.
· Broken hearts are limited in building up the lives of others.
· Forgiveness is required for a truly fruitful life.
Please leave your comments below.
General Manager, Spirit FM/Virginia
PAR Director of Creative Services
Positive Alternative Radio, Inc.